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Trust the Service Center Procedures at Automobile Service Co

It's comforting for St Louis Park drivers to know that Automobile Service Co has exacting standards and procedures for taking care of your car. There are inspection procedures and auto service procedures. When St Louis Park drivers come in for a routine service like an oil change, our technicians will give things the once over. They look to see if parts need to be replaced, such as your windshield wipers or air filter. They'll check what your owner's manual recommends be done at your mileage. They'll come to you with suggestions for things to be taken care of, along with a prioritization, so you'll know if there's anything urgent. They will also let you know of things that will need attention in the coming months. Look, it's really like going to the dentist for regular check-ups. No one wants to hear that they need dental work done – it's unpleasant and costs m ... read more

Let’s Make One Thing Clear

When we drive, it's important for us to be able to see well. That means, of course, keeping the glass in our vehicles as crystal clear as we can. If you've ever driven your car directly into bright sunlight, you know dirty, scratched or fogged windows can render you almost completely blind. Not a good thing when you're moving down the road. And, it's important to be able to see your mirrors and other vehicles behind you. So, a little clarity here can go a long way. Let's take a look at how you can maximize your visibility: Clean windows with the right cleaner. Don't use cleaners that have ammonia or alcohol in them. Ammonia can cause the surfaces of your vehicle's interior to dry out and can damage some window tints. Special automotive glass cleaners are available, and your service advisor can make recommendations. Don't use abrasives on your windows. Some kitchen sponges have a pad on one side meant to clean pots and pans. Don't use those! That ... read more

Steamed Up (Vapor Coming Out of Vents)

Sometimes you may notice a little steam or vapor coming out of your vehicle's vents when running the air conditioning or heater.  Is this something about which you need to worry? The answer is it may or may not be troublesome. Sometimes it can be caused by water accumulating in the vent system after it condenses.  That water can wind up at the bottom of a vent, and when you turn on the blower motor, it can cause what looks like steam or vapor to come out of the vents.  It may go away on its own when the system dries out after you've run the fan for a while.  Of course, moisture sitting around for more than a short time in a hot vehicle is the perfect breeding ground for mold to develop, and you don’t want your vehicle to smell like musty mold. Sometimes the moisture can build up because a drain is clogged.  A technician can clean that out and get things draining again. If the vapor coming out of the vents has a sweet, syrupy smell, it could be ... read more

Battery

Batteries are a huge part of modern life. Think of how many battery chargers you have. Of course, our purpose here is to talk about your car battery. When people come into Automobile Service Co and need a new battery, they're really not that happy about having to spend the money. But the fact is that 70 percent of batteries don't make it for 4 years. There are some things that you can do to extend the life of your battery. First, keep it clean. If you see it getting dirty or greasy, let us know at Automobile Service Co and we can clean it off. A dirty battery runs hotter, and that shortens its life. If your battery terminals are corroded, let us take a look at that, too. We can clean them, and if the corrosion has gotten into the battery cables, we can replace them. Also, running your battery way down is bad for it. Things like running the headlights or watching a DVD player with the car turned off can deeply deplete your battery ... read more

What's Shakin' with my Brakin'? (Brake Rotor Service)

If you feel your vehicle vibrating when you’re braking, or if you don't stop in as short a distance as you used to, it may be time to have your brakes checked. All newer vehicles have disc brakes in the front, and more manufacturers are using disc brakes all around (instead of an older technology called drum brakes), so there's a pretty good chance at some point you'll find yourself facing a disc brake repair when yours begin to wear out. Before we go any farther, here's how disc brakes work.  If you've ever had a bicycle with hand brakes, you know there is a caliper that pushes pads on each side of your bicycle wheel when you squeeze the brake handle.  Disc brakes are similar, but there's a metal disc (called a brake rotor) there instead of the bike wheel's rim. In disc brakes, the vibration you feel when you are stopping is often because the surface of the rotor is not flat, or the rotors have an uneven thickness. Sometimes, the rotors ca ... read more

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brake

Automobile Service Co Automotive Tips: Axles

The axle assemblies in your vehicle transfer power out to the drive wheels.  On a rear-wheel drive vehicle, there is an axle shaft that goes from the differential in the center of the axle to each rear wheel.  On a front-wheel drive vehicle, the axle shafts go from the transmission to each front-wheel.  All-wheel drive vehicles have axle shafts connected to all four wheels.  Axles assemblies are tough parts: they transfer torque from the engine to the wheels to move the vehicle.  Tough as they are, they are still subject to normal wear and tear.  The axle shafts are in a sealed housing with lubricant that protects the axle shaft.  When there is a leak anywhere in the axle assembly, lubricant gets out and dirt, water, and other contaminates can get in.  This can greatly accelerate axle wear.  If an axle assembly fails, you’re not going anywhere. A worn or damaged axle assembly on the front will make a clunking sound during low speed t ... read more

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Axles

PCV Valve Replacement at Automobile Service Co in St Louis Park

The PCV valve is a little, inexpensive part that does a big job for St Louis Park and our environment here in MN. PCV stands for Positive Crankcase Ventilation. The crankcase is the bottom area of the engine that holds the oil. When the engine's running, fuel is burned to generate power. Most of the exhaust from combustion goes out through the exhaust system. But some exhaust blows by the pistons and goes into the lower engine, or crankcase. These hot gases are about 70 percent unburned fuel. This can dilute and contaminate the oil, leading to damaging engine oil sludge. It can also cause engine corrosion. At high speeds, the pressure can build up to the point that gaskets and seals start to leak. Over time, the vented gases will gum up the PCV valve and it won't work well. That can lead to oil leaks, excessive oil consumption and reduced fuel economy. Fortunately, it's very easy to test the PCV valve, and it's quick and inexpensive ... read more

Viva la Differential

With front-wheel drive being so common these days, the differential is just taken care of during a transmission service at Automobile Service Co, so most St Louis Park drivers don't even have to think about it. And most rear-wheel drive differentials don't need to be serviced for many miles or kilometers, so it's understandable that it's not something on the minds of St Louis Park drivers. So it's not uncommon for people in St Louis Park to not know they have a differential, let alone know that it needs service. To better understand what a differential does, think about a high school track. There are lanes marked off on the track. For the longer distance races, the starting lines are staggered. The starting lines for the outside lanes are ahead of the starting lines for the inside lanes. That's to compensate for the longer length of the outside lanes. Staggering the starting lines means that each runner has the same distance to r ... read more

That Sinking Feeling (Suspension Failure)

There's nothing quite like the feeling of driving down the road and, suddenly, the back end of your vehicle collapses. A possible cause is that something in your suspension has broken.  Suspension components gradually wear out – you may not even notice the ride and handling slowly getting worse.  But a sudden failure is unnerving and will often leave you unable to drive your vehicle. A broken spring can cause your suspension to drop suddenly.  There are different types of springs, including coil springs, leaf springs, and air springs.  Most vehicles these days use coil springs, and they look just like you think they'd look: a coiled-up metal spring like what you'd find if you took apart a ballpoint pen.  Coil springs fail from rust (thanks, brine and road salt), trauma (think potholes, speed bumps, curbs) and just plain metal fatigue.  Leaf springs are often used in larger vehicles such as trucks and large SUVs.  The design has bee ... read more

Simple Answers from Automobile Service Co for St Louis Park: Wheel Bearings

Question: I remember my dad having the shop “pack the bearings” on the family car. Is this something I need to have done? Automobile Service Co Answer: That's a really good question. At one time, all wheel bearings were “serviceable” and needed to be taken care of from time to time. It's a little trickier these days. First off, the wheel bearings in your vehicle make sure your wheels rotate smoothly. As you can imagine, with all those revolutions per minute your wheels can generate a lot of heat. The bearings keep that heat down as much as possible. They're packed in grease for lubrication. The term “packing the bearings” refers to putting fresh grease around the bearings. On many modern vehicles, the wheel bearing assembly is sealed. These wheel bearings are not serviceable so there is no maintenance that ca ... read more

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